University at Albany, SUNY Alumni Association Records, 1851-2011
- Alumni Association of the University at Albany, SUNY
- The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association Records document the day-to-day operations of the Alumni Association from the 1850s to the early 21st Century.
- 60.08 cubic ft. and 0 captures
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Albany Alumni Association, 1851-2011. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Alumni Association Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of folders in Series 3: Subject Files noted on the finding aid below.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association Records document the day-to-day operations and special event planning of the organization. The Alumni Association is a semi-independent, incorporated entity on campus that coordinates alumni outreach and supports the University community through fund-raising and advocacy.
The collection includes meeting minutes and agendas, financial records, correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. While the bulk of materials dates from the 1960s through the 1980s, there also are notable 19th and early 20th Century records, including materials from reunions, correspondence, records of the building of the first residence halls, publications, and administrative files.
Please note that two series contain records of semi-independent organizations directly related to alumni and the Alumni Association; the Benevolent Association (Series 6) and the Theatre Alumni Association (Series 7). See each series description for additional information and history of these groups.
- Biographical / Historical:
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association was founded in 1849 under the name of "The Association of Graduates of the New York Normal School." Its original intent was to keep track of the addresses and professions of graduates, and to organize support for the school in its dealings with New York State government. Under Corresponding Secretary William Phelps the Association started an educational placement bureau to help graduates. The Association met biannually and would attempt to meet for "jubilees" and reunions. The Association was dormant during the Civil War and not revived till 1872. The following year in 1873 the Association adopted a new constitution. In 1890, concurrent with the renaming of the school, the Association voted to update the name to "Association of Graduates of the New York State Normal School and the New York State Normal College." The organization financed and provided information for the first two histories of the school published in 1884 and 1895.
In 1883 the Association took up its first fund-raising effort when the group raised $5,000 to pay for an "Alumni Memorial Window" for the school’s new Willett Street building. In 1894 the Association raised funds for a "Soldiers Memorial Tablet" to honor the school's Civil War dead, and, after the 1906 fire that destroyed the Willett Street Building, the Memorial Window and tablet, the organization engaged in a new campaign for a replacement Soldier’s Memorial Tablet. Subsequently the Association raised funds for tablets to honor school World War I and World War II dead. Instead of replacing the Alumni Memorial Window, the Association chose to raise $10,000 to fund a graduate scholarship in education. The fund-raising took over 40 years as the first Albert N. Husted Scholarship was not awarded until 1948. In the meantime, during the 1910s and 1920s many individuals and classes established Alumni Association small loan funds for students.
In addition to the main Alumni Association, graduates established regional branches in such places as New York City, Long Island, Rochester, Eastern and Western New York, Florida, California, and Washington, D.C. These chapters frequently held their own events and sponsored activities for alumni in their respective geographic location.
In 1921 the Association started a Dormitory Committee/Residence Hall Building Fund with the goal of raising funds to purchase land and build dormitories with alumni money—Pierce Hall for women opened in 1935 and Sayles Hall for men opened in 1941. Fund-raising and the purchase of property was carried out through the newly formed Benevolent Association which was incorporated in New York in 1926. In 1967 the State of New York purchased those dormitories and funds from the purchase were put into alumni funded scholarships. The Alumni Association based its operations out of the Benevolent Association office from 1929 until 1962 when it became part of University Administration.
There were other substantial fund-raising endeavors carried out by the Alumni Association. In 1964 alumni organized to build the symbol of the University's Uptown Campus, the musical Carillon. In 1972 the Alumni Association began a drive to build Alumni House, also on the new Uptown Campus. The organization also raised money at various times for scholarship funds. In 1972 the Alumni Association established the Annual Fund as the main fund-raising effort. In 1982 this was transferred to the University at Albany Fund, Inc., created out of a merger between the Benevolent Association, the University Foundation and Annual Fund of the Alumni Association to serve as one unified University fund-raising operation.
The Alumni Association updated its name again in 1964 to the University at Albany Alumni Association and was incorporated, under Education law 501(c)(3), as a non-profit education corporation.
The collection also documents other initiatives for alumni undertaken by the organization. There are publications written for and about alumni, featuring class notes and updates. As in earlier periods, the Alumni Association continued to plan Alumni Day and class reunions. During the 1970s and 1980s the Alumni office offered travel packages ranging from weekend excursions to view foliage in the Adirondacks to multi-week adventures in destinations in Europe and Asia. In recent years as the Alumni community grew so did Association responsibilities. The organization provides alumni with important business and personal connections as well as plans events, such as the Big Purple Growl and Homecoming. The Big Purple Growl is a midyear home basketball game that is accompanied by other events, including a feast, and heavily attended by alumni.
- Acquisition information:
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association transferred its files to M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives in a series of acquisitions. The Alumni Association still retains recent files for its own use.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2012 by Jodi Boyle, Kathleen Broedeur, Katie Demetri, Russell S. Wesdorp.
- Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae--United States
Telephone fund raising
State University of New York at Albany--History
Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae--United States--Societies, etc.--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae--United States--Periodicals
Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae--United States--Societies, etc.--Administration
Agendas (administrative records)
Files by subject
Ledgers (account books)
UAlbany University Development
Wages -- New York (State)
- State University of New York at Albany
State University of New York at Albany. Alumni Association
State University of New York at Albany. Benevolent Association
State University of New York at Albany. Theatre Alumni Association
State University of New York at Albany. Theatre Dept.